Albert “Junior” Steen
Longtime Faith area rancher and beekeeper, Albert Steen Jr., 88, died peacefully in his sleep in the early morning hours of February 10, 2013 at the Fort Meade VA Hospital near Sturgis, SD.
Service of Remembrance was held Friday, February 15, 2013 at the Fort Meade Chapel at Fort Meade, SD. Rev. Harold Delbridge officiated and inurnment of Albert's and his wife Lila's ashes was held at the Black Hills National Cemetery south of Sturgis, SD.
Albert was born the youngest of five boys to Albert and Elizabeth (Heiner) Steen on January 19, 1925 at the Steen homestead cabin southeast of Faith, SD. He attended various country schools in Ziebach County. Junior was the only son to graduate with the class of 1943 from Faith High School. He helped his family herd sheep, raise cattle and break horses.
Junior herded about 1200 sheep with his brothers Charles and Eugene throughout the winters, springs and falls of 1943, 1944 and 1945 near present day Takini School. With a remuda of two horses, several sheepdogs and a sheep wagon about the size of a small car, the three brothers spent their days on the prairies. It was here that Junior began to sharpen his culinary skills. He was often in charge of the chow line and he developed an appreciation for cooking.
He enlisted in the US Army in April of 1946 and spent the next 18 months during WWII at bases in Califonia, Montana and Arkansas. He did clerical work at the bases in California often as paymaster. Junior was honorably discharged in 1947.
Junior met Lila Knight in 1949 at a dance in Red Scaffold. They were married on September 13, 1951 before a Justice of the Peace in Rapid City. Together they moved next door to his parents on the homestead and began ranching.
He worked several years for Jim and Ethel Keegan's dirt moving operation as a cat skinner. He helped his father-in-law Wally Knight with his dirt moving business, as well.
In 1979 he began his beekeeping career with Lawrence Steen and Alan Fowler. He set up bee yards within his own cattle range and over most of western Ziebach County. Junior extracted honey at Alan Fowler's plant in Faith until he built his own plant in 1983. He sold his honey to Dutch Gold.
Junior retired from the bee business in 1989, but extracted for several more years. In 1994 he bought a small herd of cows that he watched over for years as a pet project. He was a member of the Red Scaffold Volunteer Fire Department, the American Legion, Faith Stock Show and Rodeo Association, Sheep Growers Association and was a storm watcher for the National Weather Service.
He enjoyed fishing, hunting, gardening, good stories, coffee, the Faith News, travelling, his dogs and cats and card playing with the Chalmers family. His greatest pleasure was being on the ranch and cooking supper for his grandson, Chris, no matter how late it was.
Junior was preceded in death by his wife Lila of 57 years, his parents, Albert Sr. and Elizabeth, his brothers, Arnold, Charles, Gene and Lawrence, his sisters-in-law, Verna and Florence Steen and Marjory Knight and his brothers-in-law, Jess Knight and Luther Knight.
Grateful for having shared in his life are his daughter, LouAnn Steen of Faith, SD and Jomay Steen of McLaughlin, SD; his grandchildren, Bobbi (Mark) Misar, Christopher and Eugene Steen and great grandchildren, Jase, Lani and Marty Misar; sisters-in-law, Edith Knight of Cherry Creek, Nadine Cook of Covelo, CA and Mary Ann Knight of Eagle Butte, SD and Helene Steen of Rapid City, SD; brothers-in-law, Stanley Cook of Covelo, CA and Doug Knight of Dupree, SD and numerous nieces and nephews.
Condolences to Albert’s family can be sent through our website at www.evansonjensenfuneralhome.com